There’s a photo on Facebook? Quick, set something on fire!


Seriously – why?

Thousands of Bangladeshi Muslims set fire to at least 10 Buddhist temples and 40 homes in anger over a Facebook photo of a burned Quran before authorities restored order. …

He said at least 20 people were injured in the attacks that started late Saturday after a photo of a burned copy of the Muslim holy book was posted on Facebook. The rioters blamed the photo on a local Buddhist boy, though it was not immediately clear if he actually posted the photo.

Bangladesh’s popular English-language Daily Star newspaper quoted the boy as saying that the photo was mistakenly tagged on his Facebook profile.

I don’t particularly care if this was just a pretext that was cynically used to inflame already-existing tensions, as this sort of thing usually is. This is asinine and the mere attempt to use it as an excuse is fucking disgraceful. If you think it’s at all understandable to tell people “um, yeah, we burned down all these buildings because of a picture somewhere on Facebook!”, you are simply broken as a human being.

Comments

    • brenda says

      Why yes you are so right. Isolated instances of violence in the third world *prove* the collective guilt of one billion Muslims.

      It is not at all prejudiced for me to point to poor third world countries populated by dirty browns and reassure myself of how wonderful my culture is and what a heavy burden it is to have to cope with primitive backwards tribes people suddenly thrust into a post industrial age they have no means of comprehending.

      It is never appropriate to explain world events through an understanding of the social, economic and political stresses that are often the direct result of my first world’s exploitation of their resources or even due to their being a pawn in a game of global dominance. Their brutal dictators propped up by my government to serve our ends. Their centuries old cultures, some going back 1500 years, trashed by our vapid and empty consumerist culture.

      That’s just crazy talk.

      The glib and simplistic solution is usually the right one. With the added benefit that I can free myself of any guilt or responsibility for the harm I cause by my own selfish and profligate consumption of worthless consumerist trash. My shoes and clothes made by their children. My electronic devices dumped onto their land and leeching heavy metals into what little drinkable water they have.

      I can safely ignore all that and pat myself on my back on how smart and wonderful and entitled I am. It’s their fault, not mine. I played no role. These… ignorant savages. Who do they think they are?

        • brenda says

          1) Nope. Never said that.
          2) Yup. It is the excuse people use not the cause. The cause is most likely that they’re poor, starving and out of work. You do know of course that out there, outside of your little bubble food prices have shot up markedly due to rising oil prices and that while Obama prevented a major depression in the US the rest of the world is still suffering from the failed economic polices of the GOP?

          • remuss says

            But you’re dismissing their violence because of your obvious “guilt.” It’s “isolated incidents” occurring like clockwork around the world. The very definition of isolated.

            And, by all means, do tell them that their religion is “an excuse.” I’m sure they’ll view your dismissive commentary as salient.
            Or, are their outbursts inappropriate in the light of their economic oppression? Are they being petulant children, high on the sugar of islam, and running amock because they can’t regulate their…hunger/anger?

            What I’m getting at is that your white guilt washed commentary comes across as equally racist/entitled as you’d call others.

            What you have are instances of societies where a combination of factors (not all external, unless the 11th century counts as external) make this sort of response OK. They’re not going up against their governments for starving them. They’re demanding that a sovereign gov’t act exactly like they’d expect their enlightened mullahs/dictators to act, by suppressing free speech….because that will help them…. somehow. Oh, right, anger, when expressed, gives the person a sort of high, via norepinephrine. It’s part of the reason why you feel so good posting your “guilt induced expiation”.

          • remuss says

            What’s more, in offering such an ineffectual outlet for their woes, is not Islam/ its promoters to blame for this shit? Instead of doing anything more productive (and we can argue that they’re incapable of seeing how to get to that end) they’re rampaging like the Hulk, resulting in… ZERO progress. Yup. Religion, the opiate of the masses, is innocent here.

          • brenda says

            “What I’m getting at is that your white guilt washed commentary comes across as equally racist/entitled as you’d call others.”

            I don’t feel the least bit guilty but it is perfectly appropriate to take into account how my purchasing decisions affect others. That’s not guilt, that’s just being responsible as best as I can. We *should* take into account how our choices affect others and we *should* own the things our governments do in our name even if I don’t personally approve.

            The people of Libya, which is not in the Middle East, are suffering under oppressive conditions (in spite of recent political upheavals), out of work and hungry. If these conditions did not exist, if they had work and were able to buy basic food stuffs these demonstrations would not happen as their religious beliefs remained the same. If you change one variable while keeping another fixed then any differences you see are causally linked to what changed and *not* to what stayed the same.

            To blame the variable that remained fixed is irrational pseudoscience.

          • remuss says

            @4: Let’s use your “arguments,” shall we?
            If a lot of Lybians are starving/unemployed, then why aren’t all of them attacking embassies? What’s that, the variable is relevant?

            Nope, religion is still a great big factor here, and, as I’ve pointed out, it’s holding them back instead of helping them deal with their problems constructively.

          • Myoo says

            If a lot of Lybians are starving/unemployed, then why aren’t all of them attacking embassies? What’s that, the variable is relevant?

            No, the variable is not relevant, because there are plenty of islamic people there who aren’t attacking embassies.

          • remuss says

            @5:
            Why did these guys attack the embassy? What’s their reasoning? Was it economic policies? Was it political upheaval? Were they railing against the Zionists?
            No, but I’d love to hear your alternative.
            They did it because the pwophet was insulted.

            That’s what caused them to do it. Hence, it was a religious thing. Specifically, a Muslim thing. Christians aren’t gonna attack embassies over the prophet. Nor are Hindus. Nor are Atheists.

            So, what caused it?

          • remuss says

            @5:
            Why did these guys attack the embassy? What’s their reasoning? Was it economic policies? Was it political upheaval? Were they railing against the Zionists?
            No, but I’d love to hear your alternative.
            They did it because the pwophet was insulted.

            That other Muslims are more cool/less hot headed about it doesn’t mean it’s not about Islam.

            That’s what caused them to do it. Hence, it was a religious thing. Specifically, a Muslim thing. Christians aren’t gonna attack embassies over the prophet. Nor are Hindus. Nor are Atheists.

            So, what caused it?

        • Myoo says

          What caused it was the fact that they were either not very good people or very ignorant, the latter ones being ignorant partially because of the socio-political and economic climate that exists in the region.

          Certain religious groups saw that as an opportunity to increase their influence on the region by manipulating these people into committing these violent acts. At the same time many other religious people in the area did not participate in this violence, and other religious groups condemned the violence.

          It is partially religious in origin because religion allows for a lot of power being held by some people, and these people in power can be horrible people that cheat and lie and take advantage of the ones that place their trust on them. But this is not exclusive to religion and it certainly is not exclusive to the Islamic religion.

          • remuss says

            But religious influence only works if the people are willing to buy it. I doubt the Mormons would get much traction there, for instance. Also, what religion were the groups seeking influence?

            Yes, on a larger scale, at fault here is religion in general. Then again, this is an atheist blog. All religion is not exactly welcome here.

            Hence I don’t find that your argument trying to expiate Islam (I wonder why that is, tho’) doesn’t cut it.

          • Myoo says

            Religious influence works if people are immersed in it from birth, it works if there are blasphemy laws that prevent people from speaking out against it, it works if the religious people around are the only ones that provide you with some stability, it works if it’s everything you know and unscrupulous people around you constantly reinforce to try to control you, it works when a bunch of people are constantly saying that you’re a “savage” because of your religion when their religion is responsible for just as much crap.

            I’m not trying to expiate Islam, I am annoyed that every time something like this happens in the middle east people rush to condemn Islam specifically; they condemn “those people” for “being uncontrollable” and “flipping out over nothing”; they group together the violent assholes with many other people who are not violent and publicly object to the violence, and the media reinforce this notion by not giving any airspace to the people condemning the violence.

            The people who burned down temples and homes because of a Facebook photo without any regard to people getting hurt are horrible people, the religious groups who incited these people into violence to strengthen their power are horrible people, the people who have established and maintain a corrupt social, political and economical climate in those regions for personal gain are horrible people. The people who are opposed to the violence, the ones trying to make things better and more equal for everyone, they are not horrible people, whether they’re Islamic or not.

          • remuss says

            This did not take place in the middle east.
            Or do you have a hair trigger?

            Yeah, the silent moderate majority (have they spoken up? I mean outside a few voices recently in Cairo’s newspapers, have the masses spoken up? Where? When?) reinforces the minority gobshites by holding the myths as valid. So, they’re not helping.

          • Myoo says

            Fair enough, it took place in Asia, my geography is terrible. I do have a “hair trigger” because this stuff happens so often in relation to the middle east. Nonetheless I still stand by my points.

          • remuss says

            @4: ” they condemn “those people” for “being uncontrollable” and “flipping out over nothing”; they group together the violent assholes with many other people who are not violent and publicly object to the violence, and the media reinforce this notion by not giving any airspace to the people condemning the violence.”
            Who here condemned “those people”? Who called them uncontrollable?
            And, yes, they flipped out exactly over nothing. Or, was the picture “something”?
            Jesus Fucking Christ, you do have a hair trigger.

            Those ANIMALS that did this (and I’d like to apologize to animals the world over for this, but I feel the point needs a heavier emphasis), those degenerates that did this over nothing, they ought to be othered. Nothing about their behavior in this context is excusable. You can understand it all you want, but to rush to their defense as “victims of colonial oppression” “pawns in political games” or what have you that humanizes them in your eyes… I refuse to go that far.
            You seem to be operating under the assumption (notice the “seem” there) that these are good people, who’ve gone astray, or some such. I operate under the assumption that these are human beings. As such, they’re capable of both good and evil, where the former is also described by the lack of action to promote good and suppress evil.
            Your point at #4 addresses your gaps in geography, which wasn’t the only thing I mentioned in my unintentional double post. But you ignore the part where the “good, but silent” majority is actually reinforcing this scum of the earth, tacitly. Where are the throngs protesting in the streets against this abhorrent behavior?
            It’d appear to me that you take their meekness as good. Sorry, but the absence of malice is not benevolence.
            But you didn’t address that. So, we’re not having a conversation.

            As for things being more equal (Your point in #2.):
            Where?
            Iran’s kicking girls out of STEM programs at Universities.
            Tunisians have called for the niqab. The Salafis are gaining power there.
            Have you heard of Egypt’s article 36?
            Shall I go on?
            Oh, I know. I’m biased by the (liberal?) western media’s negative portrayal which focuses on the extremists to the dismissal of everyone else. Now, of course, when you speak of these valiant do gooders, they might as well be strawmen. I mean, you mention the valiant (few?) who are taking a stand…but where are they? What, the various councils in the US saying that this is bad? Yeah, that can EASILY be dismissed as just so much politics (the question can be raised, at least, no?). Ummm…whom else? Name names, please. Oh, and, be aware that I”m not gonna play the numbers game and say that a majority of them aren’t being violent muslims and conclude that it’s not the religion at fault. Majorities there have voted for barbarians (sort of like people here voted for Bush, or Bachmann) to come in and set up barbaric “laws.”
            Now, mind you, I’m not saying that 1 billion Muslims are terrorists, or any such thing. I’m just saying that a small percentage are shouting profanities and blowing up over NOTHING* and the rest …are conspicuously absent. Or playing the “no true Scotsman” game, as one of my Muslim acquaintances has (“These people don’t know what it says in the Qu’ran.” Ok, bud, whatever washes the stink off).**

            And it doesn’t matter. These LUNATICS blow up over nothing. Or should we all shut up and kow tow to them because they might act out the stereotype we’ve formed of them, thus engendering further white guilt? (No, you’ve not said that.)

            *exactly what a picture on facebook is, regardless of whose fantasies are mocked in it.

            **Yes, a sample of one is not representative, I know.

            Methinks I’m ranting.
            TL;DR:
            You say it’s not the religion, but other factors. That’s not borne out by those self same factors. So, your argument doesn’t stand, much as we need to acknowledge the complexity of what’s going on. The complexity still doesn’t remove religion as the poison pill here. If you’re offended, no worries. I’m offended by religion. So, we’re even.

            They’re not worse than us, inasmuch as they’re humans, and humans do inhuman things. They’re just acting worse, and a lot of people on here seem to wanna downplay that. Or dismiss it by red herring. Or by statistical noise.
            And I don’t get why that is.

  1. Nothing says

    To these muslims who claim theirs is a religion of peace, I always wondered what they’d say if I asked to do a “test drive” on their religion and opt out if I don’t like it. Not that peaceful then, huh?

  2. sc_3526f945657dfc10e0b2b880be7ea549 says

    What worries me is that there really are stupid, gullible, and irrational enough people who are easily prompted to action every time someone publishes something deemed offensive to their creed. Also, I’d like to see they and the evil minds pulling the strings behind the scenes arrested, tried and convicted as criminals. If they’re merely “radicals” or “fanatics” who represent only a tiny fraction of the muslim world, or act according to a secret political agenda, there’s no reason to exempt them from the law.

    On a side note, also somewhat broken as human beings must be those liberal and enlightened people who seem to be equally or even more offended by the videos, photos, cartoons, whatever, than by the resulting campaign of hate, havoc, and murder. Arguments such as “Oh, what did you expect would happen? You know how those people are”, or “It is really offensive. No one should abuse a right (of freedom of expression) like that”, shouldn’t really count in cases like these.

    • brenda says

      This:
      “What worries me is that there really are stupid, gullible, and irrational enough people who are easily prompted to action every time someone publishes something deemed offensive to their creed.”

      And this:
      “Arguments such as “Oh, what did you expect would happen? You know how those people are,””

      The irony…. it burns.

      “also somewhat broken as human beings must be those liberal and enlightened people who seem to be equally or even more offended by the videos, photos, cartoons, whatever, than by the resulting campaign of hate”

      I know of no *liberals* who fit into your strawman’s overcoat. Do you have… you know… any *evidence* to support what you just pulled out of your ass? But please, wipe your hands first.

      All the liberal commentors I am know of are fully aware of how difficult this issue is. It is not liberals in the media who resort to quick and easy jingoism or glib analysis like yours.

      Here is a discussion on the msnbc weekend morning show Up lead by Chris Hayes, editor of The Nation. About as liberal as you get in the US media. Talking about the recent flare ups in Libya and around the middle east.

      Free Speech Tensions

      You may agree or disagree with some or all of it but you sure as FUCK can’t smear them as broken human beings offended by videos and not the violent protests.

      • A. says

        By “stupid, gullible, and irrational” people I meant exactly the tiny fraction of 0.001% to 0.007% (http://bit.ly/QeHQa2) of Muslims who are prompted to action (because of their extreme religious beliefs) by an even smaller number of people seeking to fulfill their own private agenda. I reject the notion of “clash of civilizations”, of the “enlightened West” versus the “barbarian Muslims”. After all, we have our own fair share of crackpots; also, the list of terrorist attacks committed by the U.S. government, for instance, is very long indeed. And, as you pointed out, it’s a mistake to speak of the “Muslim world” as if they were an ideologically uniform, fanaticism-ridden people.

        However, I do worry every time I read something like this http://nbcnews.to/P9Jr2h, this http://bit.ly/UahZnb, or this http://bit.ly/QcEJ2y, or like the above one Zinnia blogged about. Small as they are, these extremist groups can still cause a lot of damage, and I shudder every time I think what societies are like where people like Salafist leader Sheikh Khaled Abdullah hold both secular and ecclesiastical authorities. I think the competent people in Muslim countries where such atrocities usually take place should take up the hard task of trying and convicting the minority responsible for the havoc and killings.

        About the second part of my comment above, I accept your criticism. I just think you misread your second quote of it. That is, I mean that the criticizing and shunning of cartoonists and filmmarkers by deeming them _responsible_ for igniting violent protests “because, you know, those people over there are all radicals and crazy, they knew this would happen” shouldn’t be seriously considered as an argument. I occasionally hear this argument, but you’re right, no serious liberal I know proposes this as true.

        • brenda says

          “by “stupid, gullible, and irrational” people I meant exactly the tiny fraction of 0.001% to 0.007% of Muslims who are prompted to action (because of their extreme religious beliefs)”

          If 99.003% of the rest of the Muslim world are NOT rioting because of their religion how is it that the religion of Islam is the cause? Wouldn’t it be more likely that since these stupid, gullible, and irrational people are protesting because they are living under undemocratic regimes, poor, out of work and their basic needs, like food, have risen in price recently. That religion is the catalyst but not really the cause.

          Poverty is causally linked to political unrest. Not religion. I mean, thinking that religion is the cause of political unrest in the middle east is almost as stupid as believing that it was the cause of political unrest in Ireland.

          • remuss says

            And Islam is a monoblock religion, experienced equally by all.
            Or not. But way to be dismissive of it.

          • A. says

            “If 99.003% of the rest of the Muslim world are NOT rioting because of their religion how is it that the religion of Islam is the cause? […] religion is the catalyst but not really the cause.”

            This is an important question, and there’s a lot of truth to your point. I bet that in Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, two more affluent and liberal countries of Muslim majority, protests weren’t half as violent as in Lybia or in Egypt, for instance. It might be that, were the latter more politically, economically, and socially stable, extremist leaders and their radical propositions would naturally retreat to the sidelines and have limited reach. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

            (Also, I believe the cost for violent protests in secular Muslim countries would be higher, since protestants could face prosecution.)

            At the same time, the Arab Spring did happen. And the population of the countries in which it happened didn’t need to use offenses to their religion as a pretext for revolting (they had many chances to do so before). They identified exactly what they perceived as the source of their prolonged hardship and distress, namely hereditary dictatorial regimes. Though poverty and low job prospects there continue, nowhere do I see a shift in discourse from “they offended my religion” to “we’re facing hardships” as a reason for revolting this time around either.

            Also, what about those who protested peacefully? Do you think they weren’t offended by the video or cartoons too? But what if only the more radical groups were willing to react — rightfully, according to their worldview — with violence? Also, why should they retort to violence if they could have driven their point home by manifesting peacefully like the others?

            By the end of the revolution, as was expected, the different groups and factions stepped up to seize their share of power and influence in the new goverments. This is the backdrop against which Salafists in Egypt act:

            “Most insulted Muslims ignored the film or protested peacefully, but the Salafists, with their signature black flags, were leading instigators of the more aggressive protests that breached embassies. […] Like the far-right in the US or Europe, the Salafist strategy is to drag public opinion rightwards by seizing on opportunities to fan radical anger and demonise ideological opponents.” (http://bit.ly/QeHQa2)

            This is why I think you’re mistaken when you deny religion as a cause of political unrest. What distinguishes the Muslim Brotherhood from the Salafists, and both these groups from more moderate ones, is the extent to which they’re willing to base public policies according to their religious worldviews in the new government.

            Case in point:

            “Despite the new freedoms championed by the revolutionaries, women continue to be regarded as subordinate to men. In Tunisia, a mass protest called for all women to be veiled. […] In Egypt, conservative forces are on the rise, demanding the imposition of policies – particularly reforms of family legislation [like changing the minimum legal age for marriage from 18 to 12, for instance] – that would represent a step backward for women. Angered and alarmed by these developments, Arab women have been forced to defend their rights.” (http://bit.ly/PByLnB)

            This is a textbook case of political unrest caused by religion. After all, the main source of discrimination against women in Arab countries is Islam itself.

            So sure, the mobs could simply be poor gullible people being played by radical religious leaders for political gains. Also, if socioeconomical factors were different, extremist discourses would have been much less effective. Yet, I’d be wary of fully dismissing religion as one of the causes (even if it’s not *the* cause) of violent outbursts and civil rights abuses in the region. If Islam didn’t condone this kind of action, violent protestants wouldn’t have how to support it to begin with.

  3. Bill Gascoyne says

    Indeed, Islam is a religion of peace, and anyone who says otherwise must be killed for insulting Islam. </sarcasm>

  4. Dairy says

    “If you think it’s at all understandable to tell people “um, yeah, we burned down all these buildings because of a picture somewhere on Facebook!”, you are simply broken as a human being.”

    Yeah! You tell them Zinnia! Use your privilege to tell those broken third-worlders just aren’t as civilised as us non-broken folks.

    Of course you could address the more complex sociopolitical and socioeconomic factors that answer your question “Seriously – why?”

    But instead you choose to slam the (nonexistent?) people who think that anyone thinks it’s understandable to tell people “Um yea, we burned down all these buildings because of a picture somewhere on Facebook”. Can you even quote anyone saying anything at all similar to that or did you just make it up?

  5. says

    Use your privilege to tell those broken third-worlders just aren’t as civilised as us non-broken folks.

    Sorry, I missed the part where that made any of this okay. Does the fact of me being privileged, or them being in the third world, make these actions acceptable? Do they no longer merit criticism? And really, nice job attacking me for supposedly saying they’re not “civilised” just because – oh heavens, somebody get the fainting couch – I called them out on burning down people’s homes for no justifiable reason. Where do I get off!?

    Of course, let’s not pay any attention to how your privilege comes into play when you essentially say “looks like people in the third world are burning down each other’s villages again – oh well, not my place to judge! *whistles*” and implicitly demean them by acting as though their behavior here is somehow less deserving of criticism than it would be if you or I did the same. Because hey, I guess “third-worlders” are practically a different species and not adult human beings like the rest of us. We just don’t understand.

    Of course you could address the more complex sociopolitical and socioeconomic factors that answer your question “Seriously – why?”

    Can you tell us more about these “complex sociopolitical and socioeconomic factors” that would somehow make these actions any more acceptable, just because the reason is “politics” or “economy” or “society” rather than “religion”? To say I’m interested would be an understatement – I really want to see where you take this.

    But instead you choose to slam the (nonexistent?) people who think that anyone thinks it’s understandable to tell people “Um yea, we burned down all these buildings because of a picture somewhere on Facebook”. Can you even quote anyone saying anything at all similar to that or did you just make it up?

    If you believe this element of the story was a fabrication, then the Associated Press would be the ones to get in touch with. I am certain they would be quite thrilled to hear your enlightening take on what really happened.

    • Dairy says

      “Sorry, I missed the part where that made any of this okay. Does the fact of me being privileged, or them being in the third world, make these actions acceptable? Do they no longer merit criticism?”

      It’s the substance of the criticism that’s the problem, they’re not exempt from criticism.

      “And really, nice job attacking me for supposedly saying they’re not “civilised” just because – oh heavens, somebody get the fainting couch – I called them out on burning down people’s homes for no justifiable reason. Where do I get off!?”

      ‘for no justifiable reason’ – this references the issue. There is no suitable justification for burning down people’s homes, but you described their putative justifications “um, yeah, we burned down all these buildings because of a picture somewhere on Facebook!” – without bothering to investigate or describe the actual situation, the justifications they actually use, the reasons they actually feel justified (different from what they say, often), or any other of the humanising investigations that people should turn to instead of denigrating the Other with simplistic and simplified snark that, regardless of your intention which is not magic, played in to cultural stereotypes about the irrational Muslim, the foreign rioters who attack and destroy for mere ‘insults’ that are barely provocations, which they’d know if they’d only listen to the rational Westerners who know better.

      “Of course, let’s not pay any attention to how your privilege comes into play when you essentially say “looks like people in the third world are burning down each other’s villages again – oh well, not my place to judge! *whistles*” and implicitly demean them by acting as though their behavior here is somehow less deserving of criticism than it would be if you or I did the same.”

      Well, that Straw Privilege Man is certainly just as off-base as you are, it’s true.

      However my position is not that we cannot judge them, but that your judgement is completely inadequate and in addressing an issue but failing to substantively elucidate the actual causes and complex socio/geopolitical interactions and relying simply on well worn stereotypes about Muslims acting out ‘just’ because of their offense and anger.

      There is so much more to be said about the infinitely complex interactions between culture, history, international oppression of Muslims, internal dominance of Muslims in Bangladesh, the echoes of the British Raj, the disaster of the partition, poverty, education, lying leaders, misguided leaders, cultural appropriation and cultural arrogance (on both sides, in differing degrees in different people), the psychological effects of mob behaviour etc. But none of that excepts the perpetrators from criticism, it just has to be accurate evidenced criticism that actually addresses the situation.

      “Because hey, I guess “third-worlders” are practically a different species and not adult human beings like the rest of us. We just don’t understand.”

      Hey! It’s the Straw Bigot. The Straw Bigot is wrong, they deserve accurate criticism because they are adult human beings like the rest of us and not just two-dimensional caricatures that are so broken they burn and murder at the drop of a picture. We do understand, and we know that you are wrong Zinnia.

      “Can you tell us more about these “complex sociopolitical and socioeconomic factors” that would somehow make these actions any more acceptable”

      No. Because their actions are not acceptable, at all. However their motivations are not accurately described by you. I mentioned a few of the complex factors in the paragraph two above, but none of them justify their actions, they merely explain them in a way that takes full account of the humanity and history of the peoples involved and thereby avoid unintentionally agreeing with the 2-dimensional caricatures of racists. (Your intent is irrelevant, the effect is the same, their false arguments are supported and bolstered, and the truth goes unexamined)

      • remuss says

        Aren’t all of them living in fucked up socioeconomical conditions? Are all of them burning buildings? Why, NO! Hence, pointing out the irrational Muslims as such is an adequate description of facts.

        It’s their religion leading them to violence.

        • Dairy says

          See Zinnia? These are the fellow travellers of your arguments:

          “Aren’t all of them living in fucked up socioeconomical conditions? Are all of them burning buildings? Why, NO! Hence, pointing out the irrational Muslims as such is an adequate description of facts.

          It’s their religion leading them to violence.”

          P1: They are all living in fucked up conditions
          P2: Not All of them are burning buildings.

          Hence:

          C1: Pointing out the irrational Muslims as such is an adequate description of the facts.
          C2: It’s their religion leading them to violence.

          which is odd because using the same logic on the billion or so Muslims

          P1: They are all Muslims
          P2: Not All of them are burning buildings.

          Hence:

          C1: Pointing out the irrational Muslims is not an adequate description of the facts.
          C2: It’s not their religion leading them to violence.

          Of course both of those arguments are total nonsense and complete rubbish. Most probably motivated by an Othering of these far away Brown Muslims who he is entirely happy to chat bullshit about that he would be pissed if they turned around and used on us.

          • remuss says

            My bad.
            Did they rationally choose to commit these random acts of violence?

            And how come you can dismiss the rest of the Muslims, who are still Muslims (or are they not true Scottsmen in your particular narrative?). But that’s not OK? Because socioeconomic factors that aren’t specific to them are making them do this?

            I didn’t say all Muslims are irrational. I’m talking about the rioting, murdering ones.

      • Dairy says

        *and relying simply on well worn stereotypes about Muslims acting out ‘just’ because of their offense and anger, you are simplifying the issue and motivations of the Other in a reductive and inaccurate way.

        • remuss says

          Sometimes the shoe fits.
          And Zinnia didn’t say that all Muslims are doing this. So, why are you invoking stereotypes? Xenophobic much?

          • Dairy says

            Because intent is not magic she invoked them herself when she used arguments that match the xenophobic notions.

            (p.s. it’s best not to try to defend someone from critiques of their xenophobe-alike arguments by leading with “A well but if the xenophobic stereotypes are true then…”.

            “Sometimes the Shoe fits” in this context means “Sometimes racism is true”

          • remuss says

            @1.
            You’ve gotta be kidding.
            Were these Muslims doing these atrocious actions?
            Yes or no.
            Were they being rational? Was their behavior what you’d describe as civilized?

            Why are you defending these idiots? And why are you introducing noise to do it?

          • Dairy says

            As mentioned below, I am not interested in discussing this with someone as off-base and intellectually dishonest as yourself.

            I have to point out though, since you are so incredibly dishonest and/or stupid, and keep making such grievously off base claims about what I’m saying that you are completely mischaracterising my position. (deliberately? or just a reading comprehension fail? I don’t know.)

            I have not and do not defend the actions of these Muslim rioters. There is no justification for their actions. (Apparently telling you that twice isn’t enough to make it register. Will a third get through to you?)

            However, inaccurate and insufficient descriptions of their motives does everyone a disservice. Especially people of an anti-intellectual bent such as remuss, who don’t know enough to know that they shouldn’t accept such simplistic explanations at face value.

            p.s. remuss I won’t answer any of your silly off-base questions, but I will correct any egregiously stupid things that you pretend I’m saying.

          • remuss says

            @3 Dairy, you might have curdled.
            Oh, sorry, see, that’s uncalled for, as it is an ad hom.

            You try to paint a more complete picture, but, you add no explanatory power to what’s going on.
            My specific questioning of your motives may thus have been off base (you seem to be trying to make a unbiased assessment of facts, well, until you get pissed off, when, well, the gloves comes off) as I don’t know your motives. What I know is this:
            You add these socio economic factors, as if they’re relevant. Clearly, they’re not.
            So…
            What’s the point? We understand that stressed out people can act badly… given that they have the right ideological^ motivator**.

            ^religion, in this case. Particularly Islam.
            ** my addendum

      • remuss says

        Hmmm….
        Let’s see:
        A large part of the Muslim world: socioeconomic wasteland (with historical factors at play making it so). Correct?
        Yes.
        Now, you did have the Arab Spring, where they were addressing those issues, the ones that affect them, head on (if not effectively- the effects are ongoing, so we can’t fully judge them yet).
        But:
        – a picture of the prophet comes up, they riot, mob, kill
        – a movie making fun of the prophet comes up, they riot, mob, kill
        – a Qu’ran is burned, they riot, mob, kill.
        – evidence is planted on a mentally disabled girl that makes it look like she’s defaced the Qu’ran, so, they riot, and burn houses.

        Are they the tools of power seeking politicians? Sure, why not? But, what’s the narrative those politicos are using? They’re not talking about income inequality. They’re not bringing up unemployment. They’re fomenting these idiots (and I will use this particularly Othering term, thanks) with their own unsourced, out-of-context stories about what grievous blasphemy has been committed.
        But, you’re right. They are irresponsible, they’re just victims of history and colonial oppression. They have no agency whatsoever.

        Really?
        What do you get out of defending religion here? What, are you being “fair and balanced”? Because you’re typing the balance in the other direction.
        Here’s why: if it were the socioeconomics, then a lot more of them would be rioting (assuming that’s the modus operandi they think will effect constructive change), against their corrupt governments and institutions. Some of that does happen (Arab spring, etc.)…but it’d appear that it’s not the case in all these “insulted Islam” incidents.
        So, your balancing acts seems …wobbly.

        • Dairy says

          ” But, you’re right. They are irresponsible, they’re just victims of history and colonial oppression. They have no agency whatsoever.

          Really?”

          No.

          But you’re neither an honest nor intelligent interlocutor or you wouldn’t have said that.

          From above: “my position is not that we cannot judge them”
          “none of that excepts the perpetrators from criticism”
          “their actions are not acceptable, at all.”

          Ets-chetera (My Latin class is Fake!)

          Come back honest or come back smarter. Either way, I’m done with you.

          • remuss says

            Othering me much?
            Or, is that OK, because you think I’m white?

            Your “arguments” are flawed, as I’ve pointed out. Your ad-hom isn’t helping your point.

            What is your point, then? You’re doing your darndest to remove the religion as a factor here. Why? Your “other factors” only muddle whatever point it is you’re trying to make, in your “I’m not a racist” game.

          • Dairy says

            Learn what Othering means before you attempt to use it, you’re only embarrassing yourself.

            I have no interest in discussing this with you any more, so will not answer any of your inaccurate loaded questions – you are not a competent interlocutor, you fail to read what I have written, and accuse me of arguing things I have explicitly argued against, then fail to acknowledge or apologise for that mistake when it is pointed out to you in black and white with quotes.

            So what would be the point of answering you?

            You would not read the words I write, you would come back with “How does that play into your “I’m not a racist” game?” or some other such inanity that does not address what I actually wrote, but addresses the Straw-Anti-Racist in your head.

          • remuss says

            To demonize, dehumanize, make the OTHER less than human, unworthy of respect.
            That definition?

            Again. If I’ve misread your point, I apologize.
            However (and I know it’s a half assed apology here, given the “but”) what is your point. They are responsible for their actions, as per your own words, and those actions were destructive. OK. Cool.
            But you bring up these other factors, meant to give us a more complete picture of what’s going on, so as not to dehumanize the brutes (given their actions, I’ll stick by the moniker, thanks), except it doesn’t really. You see, you’ve failed to address my rebuttal.

            Good thing I’m not a competent interlocutor, when you fail to address the validity of bringing up the other variables.
            When you tried to do so, the point was….non existent.

            You bring up complex socio economic factors, but then in your elementary logic course breakdown of events, you ignore those self same factors when you go from billion Muslims to Islam doesn’t play a hand in that. You create a strawman there, as no one is indicting all muslims for the actions of the ones in Bangladesh (the thousands cited in the OP). However you don’t make a point, beyond that simple bit of obfuscating diagramatic breakdown to point out how it’s not religion that’s at fault here.
            As I pointed out, it’s not the socio economic factors.
            What else is there?
            Why is religion off the table here? Because you choose to say that one billion Muslims have the same faith (not that you are, I guess, but your logic example from above would make one believe that’s the point you’ve made. I dunno what the point is supposed to be.)?

            So…?
            And, thanks, interlocutor, for choosing to dismiss my intelligence and knowledge, instead of addressing what I’ve said.

          • Dairy says

            Sorry, I’m at work and have literally run out of time to continue. You’re right, I’m hot-tempered, and dislike people being off-base with my arguments and claiming I’ve written the opposite of what I’ve actually written. Your two most recent posts are nearer to addressing what I’m saying, and ask some relevant questions that interrogate what I’m actually arguing, not something else, so if you’re around later check back and I may have answered you in the mean time.

      • says

        ‘for no justifiable reason’ – this references the issue. There is no suitable justification for burning down people’s homes, but you described their putative justifications “um, yeah, we burned down all these buildings because of a picture somewhere on Facebook!” – without bothering to investigate or describe the actual situation, the justifications they actually use, the reasons they actually feel justified (different from what they say, often), or any other of the humanising investigations that people should turn to instead of denigrating the Other with simplistic and simplified snark that, regardless of your intention which is not magic, played in to cultural stereotypes about the irrational Muslim, the foreign rioters who attack and destroy for mere ‘insults’ that are barely provocations, which they’d know if they’d only listen to the rational Westerners who know better.

        I am sure the actual situation could be quite a bit more complex, with historical, cultural, social, economic and political factors that weren’t addressed or explained adequately. That would hold true for any such incident anywhere in the world. What I objected to, which I hoped I had made clear, was someone’s apparent attempt to use a perceived Facebook insult as grounds for this violence. That is, I too would prefer to hear the honest reason – from the people who did this. I don’t want to hear some obvious nonsense, that clearly neither of us believe, about a picture of a Qur’an on the internet.

        In any case, I don’t know why you would single out my criticism as unacceptable just because it happens to be about Muslims. I would do the same when this sort of thing is done in the name of any other religion. The fact that stereotypes about Muslims exist isn’t going to deter me from doing so when this happens to involve Muslims, just like the existence of antisemitism won’t deter me from critically examining the ethics of circumcision just because some people have historically used that issue for antisemitic purposes.

        I get the impression that you think because there are prevalent, prejudiced stereotypes about some group, this therefore merits an equal-but-opposite reaction on our part, obligating us to hold our fire and not criticize this sort of thing in the way we would if it were carried out by another group, such as Christians, which are not quite so broadly and maliciously stereotyped. I don’t agree with that at all. The existence of prejudice can never be used as a cover to deflect valid, needed criticism. Further, I don’t see how reporting what happened (insofar as these reports were accurate) could have “played in to cultural stereotypes about the irrational Muslim” without you also having to conclude that their very actions “played in to cultural stereotypes about the irrational Muslim”.

  6. brenda says

    The columns get too thin to continue the debate. That’s too bad.

    But….. basically…. We now know that the original attack on our Libyan embassy was NOT due to the film like everyone thought it was. Which is not the same as this press report but does seem to me to undermine the general sense some have that these protests are entirely motivated by religious sentiment.

    I think the role religion plays in society is ambiguous. It does some good and some harm. It does however strike me as ironic that most of these young educated professionals who form much of the online atheist community focus so much of their energy on something that there is really little chance will be eradicated and it’s doubtful it is even the central cause of the problems they claim to worry about.

    And yet these young professional atheists are very plugged into the corporate power structure that I think shares far more of the blame for the social ills they say they are worried about and is something that one could actually change.

    The troubles in Ireland were caused by the rapacious greed of the English who oppressed them for centuries. Do you STILL believe that the Irish potato famine and the resulting emigration of millions to the US was due a NATURAL famine?? Really? (answer: the blight was natural, the food shortage was not)

    When the former English Empire drew up national boundaries in the middle east they *deliberately* made sure that traditional tribal boundaries were ignored because they *knew* that that is how you subjugate a people.

    That was the exact same thing the former USSR did in their Eastern European client states… and for the exact same reasons. In the US we did it slightly differently. There was a conscious deliberate decision to pit one group against another only this time by racial identity rather than religion.

    It is unbridled greed, power and the desire to dominate others that is the problem.

    But it is easier to attack people half way around the world rather than those who write your pay checks.

    • remuss says

      Young, corporate atheists?
      Who might those be?
      Or are you too worried about class struggle and thus care more about strawmen and red herrings than facts?

      I don’t share your defeatist attitude of “there’s little chance this will be eradicated.” You’re right. Why bother, it’s hard. Well, maybe you don’t have the stomach for it. But, then again, no one asked you.

      What is up with all the defenders of the faith on here? Is there some sort of Abrahamic dog whistle in action? Being blown my Marx’s ghost?

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